EU considers new labelling laws

12th August 2013 - Fine Cut

Labelling methods that outline the country of origin for any particular product could be changed as part of new plans being considered by officials in the European Union (EU).

As part of the changes, ministers in Brussels are considering a shake-up of current market rules that would see a nation of origin defined by the most expensive element in a product, reports the Daily Express.

This amendment would see a handbag that was designed and produced in England using Italian leather labelled as "Made In Italy".

The controversial move, which has outraged many British manufacturing companies, has sparked debate among businesses operating in a range of industries - with many exploring the idea of taking action to avoid costly fines from the EU.

Critics of the plans have claimed they are "typical of the EU's one-size-fits-all approach".

Simon Rainer, chief executive of the British Jewellers' Association, said: "The penalties for non-compliance may be huge, possibly in the region of ten per cent of turnover."

As part of the current rules, a product's country of origin is defined as the place where they "underwent their last, substantial, economically justified process or working".

However, the new rules will see items with parts hailing from several countries have their origin defined on the basis of where the most expensive component came from.

Leading British companies including Rolls-Royce, Asprey and Brompton bicycles may have to alter their marketing campaigns if the changes go ahead, the proposal would allow a "Made In" label to be displayed, but only if at least 45 per cent of a product's value content comes from the specified nation.

While the British and German governments have been quick to voice their opposition to the ruling, Italy, Spain and Portugal have supported the plans.

However, an EU spokesman said the label is "absolutely not in danger", claiming quite the opposite was in fact the case.

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